Posts Tagged ‘presentations’

1. Time Manage Your Presentation

Planning a Perfect PowerPoint – 7 Point Checklist


This 7 Point Checklist for Planning your PowerPoint can help save you from hours of rework and embarrassment.

Creating PowerPoint presentations with Graphics, Video and Text can be creatively alluring…and easier than ever to dive in and get started.  But like the speedy rabbit darts ahead of the tortoise, ultimately, the slow yet wise tortoise emerges the victor.

Early on, it’s important to know what your end-presentation venue will look like. Take some time to visit the location of the presentation, or if you’re a speaker, get the details of the meeting room and presentation hardware from the meeting planner or AV team.  This will help you to plan ahead and answer these checklist questions, ultimately translating to a smarter, more prepared presentation.

1. Time Manage Your Presentation

1. Time Manage Your Presentation

Address all graphical and technical aspects of developing the presentation by using this 7 step presentation Time Management approach.  <Full Article>

Step 1: Set key goals/objectives, know your audiences’ goals and interests.

Step 2: Establish an overall graphical look and feel and draft a and high-level outline with key sections.  Create a storyboard.

Step 3: Get Creative:  Shop & tag relevant images for ideas and inspiration.

Step 4: Forge a first draft with key graphics and messages.  Give an impromptu test-run- perhaps with colleagues- to see if the presentation flows.

Step 5: Deep-dive on the presentation with research, supporting text/messages and relevant imagery.

Step 6: Practice aloud to get comfortable with your presentation, and make any fine-tune edits. Print out any drafts/supporting material.

Step 7: Get a good night’s sleep, eat well in the morning, and be bold and confident that you’ll ready and successful.

2. Screen Size and Aspect Ratio

2. Screen Size and Aspect Ratio

Early on, it’s important that you see (or at least know about ) the room and screen where you’ll be showing your presentation.

If your showing the presentation in a on a small screen or laptop, makes sure the minimal size of your visuals can be seen and read by everyone in the room.  Remember, if you can’t see it, there’s no point to showing it.

Just as important, make sure your slide aspect ratio – the proportionbetween the width and the height – matches the screen and projector’s or screen’s standard output. The most common aspect ratios are Standard (4:3) and Widescreen (16:9).   Most newer conference rooms are implementing HDTVs or widescreen projectors using 16:9.  But it’s best to be sure.  Sometimes, I’ll encourage my clients to create two versions of their presentations in both 4:3 and 16:9 to avoid any headaches.

3. Operating System, PPT Version, and Connections

3. Operating System, PPT Version, and Connections

By ensuring your presentation will be played on the same end operating system (Mac or PC) and PowerPoint version that it was created (PPT 07/2010/13, etc.), you can avoid last minute trauma and troubles.  Though similar, a presentation created in PowerPoint 2007 for PC may display differently in PowerPoint 2013 for Mac.  And if your presentation has embedded or linked media, take the time to test that it plays smoothly on the output computer. 

If you’re playing the presentation from your own laptop, ensure their cables are compatible with your system…and arrive early to setup and test.

4. Themes, Templates, Layouts + Chart & Table Templates

4. Themes, Templates, Layouts + Chart & Table Templates

PowerPoint is much more than just a blank page to write text and insert graphics. Themes, Templates and Layouts help add structure and intelligence while ensuring presentation consistency.   Most of the time, companies will have a basic approved corporate PowerPoint Theme/Template (.potx file).  These files contain predefined colors, title/body fonts, animations, and layouts.  Unfortunately, these PowerPoint templates are often fairly limited, and not well structured, and can limit creative development.  If you can, it’s helpful to adapt and modify these elements to meet your specific needs.

When starting a presentation, take the time to know your Theme and pre-existing Layout slides.  If you’ll be replicating a specific page formatting/layout often, create a custom layout of your own.  (Duplicate, rename).

Do you have preferences for a certain chart type? A certain table type?  Tables and Charts can have preset styles (templates) that once defined, can shave hours off intricate design work.  Just click to apply your pre-defined chart (or table) template to any existing chart or table. 

Predefining and knowing these features can help you create a professional presentation with greater consistency and efficiency.

5. Look and Feel

5. Look and Feel

Although the theme, templates and layouts work maintain a standard look and feel, it’s up to you to work to stay within- or deviate outside- those creative boundaries.  More often, it’s vital to maintain respect to the company branding and styles.  Some companies have a Visual Style Manual that goes into detail about all placement, logo, and color issues.  If you’re presenting at a conference or conventions, organizers often place restrictions on what you can- and cannot use in your presentations.  Better to know what’s expected ahead of time than be blasted by the branding police for being too deviant.

Still, it’s important to consider what the overall look and feel of your presentation will be…and whether it’ll be more reflective of you or your company.  Will it be light or dark?  Colorful or monochromatic?  Will the animations and transitions be wild or tame?  Establish the standards of your presentation’s look and feel with an early sign-off by management, and you’ll avoid any last-minute entanglements.

6. File Size and Distribution

6. File Size and Distribution

Early-on, it’s important to be aware of any technical limits of your network or email. 

If you’re working on a 200-page data-heavy PowerPoint, it can get snarled by a network or be rejected by email!  Ensuring your presentation is small enough to be transferred over the network or by email is critical to avoid any late production problems. Consider a file-sharing service to exchange files; Dropbox and GoogleDrive are easy and commonplace.  If the file is still too large, split it into two separate logically-named files (part-1.pptx and part-2.pptx).  Plan ahead and be ready to meet your deadlines.

7. Presentation Resources

7. Presentation Resources

Like a movie director, producing a PowerPoint presentation takes planning and preparation.  Don’t try to do it all yourself..  Presentation resources can be anything from a stock photo website, to a presentation design agency, to a colleague providing input and analysis.  Make sure they’re ready and you can use them to make your presentation great.  By having presentation resources ready to assist you in creating or delivering your PowerPoint, you’ll be more confident, prepared, and ready to present like a pro!

Even before the first slide is created on your next presentation, applying a presentation checklist will help you reduce rework and troubles, while keeping a clear line of communications and expectations…helping everyone to look like a presentation expert.

Geetesh Bajaj contributed to this article.

IM - Steve Jobs died

Steve Jobs’ Presentation Power


One person’s perspective on the life of Steve Jobs.  And how his simple presentations style changed the way we communicate.

Watch this as a YouTube video presentation

IM - Steve Jobs diedI was walking in the neighborhood where I live in Delray Beach Florida this past Wednesday around 8:30pm Wednesday Night when I got a text message from my partner Rudy. “Steve Jobs passed away.”

Wow. I stopped my walk and paused and as I looked at the message on my iPhone I realized that I was reading of the death of the very inventor of my phone and a revolutionary in communications.

Steve had an Simplicity and Elegance.

From his products to his presentations, he worked hard to make everything…easy.

Steve Jobs giving a presentation on stage

From the first Apple computer to the MacIntosh…to the iPod, iPhone, IPad, and the first computer animated movie, Jobs revolutionized technology. Making it personal and personable.

He presented to the common person like a common person. But Steve Jobs’ impact on the world extended well-beyond his role as an inventor…but as a communicator. A world class presenter. But first, let me share a bit about my history with Steve Jobs and how his Apple inventions have impacted our world!

 

I was introduced to Apple computers in 1983.

Kevin Lerner in Middle School9th grade – 13 years old, I worked with an elite group of young geeky middle school kids in Mr. Zatrock’s computer class. Some of us were Apple fans. The more serious kids and programmers hailed the IBM PC as the computer of the future. Like most geeky teens, I decorated my room with geeky guy stuff…including my Apple ][e. I loved connecting with my computer friends online through my 1200 baud modem on Compuserve.

The Apple Mac: Too Simple!

First Apple Macintosh - Too Simple!In 1984 the Apple Macintosh burst onto the stage. Most praised it as a computer for the common person. Simple and easy. But to me, and many of my computer friends, we felt it was too basic. Like a toy.

Straying from Apple to seek power with Windows

Kevin Lerner working with Windows instead of MacAnd so I strayed from Apple. And found my niche with Windows. Even to this day, I still feel more comfortable, and in control, with the Operating System pioneered by Bill Gates. With the features of Windows, I felt like a power user, able to get under the hood and tinker wtih the computer to create anything.

But one of the prime reasons I worked in Windows was a presentation program called PowerPoint. We could easily create great looking visuals and then “print” them to 35mm slides. Plus, everyone else in the business world in the mid-90s created their presentations with PowerPoint in Windows! And the vast majority of computers sold today run on the Windows Operating System.

The Mac: A Clever Curiosity

Kevin and Neil at Apple StoreTo me, the Mac was a clever curiosity. But many of my friends were die-hard fans….including Neil. In 2005 we visiteda a Mac Store to get my PC to transfer files to his Mac. But despite my cynicism, the Mac was gaining prominence and presence in creative circles.

2005: Keynote makes presenting on a Mac powerful

Apple Keynote Presentation with Steve JobsBut it wasn’t until 2005 when Apple rolled out Keynote that people started to take notice of Apple as a Powerful Presentation Product. The graphics were clean and simple, providing an poetic backdrop for Steve Jobs as he gracefully presented Apple’s earnings. And people took notice.

Including Al Gore. The Former Vice President called on my friend and colleague Nancy Duarte to develop his visuals for his presentations on Global Warming. The talk became a movie and Apple’s prominence in the presentation market was solidified.

Presenting from the Palms of our Hands

Presenting from an iPhoneAnd when the iPhone was released, everyone had the power to create and deliver presentations from the palm of our hands. The iphone even serves as a remote control when playing a Keynote presentation.

Now I’m not the only person to call Steve Jobs a brilliant communicator. My colleague Carmine Gallo wrote a best-selling book in which he shared the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs. He says it’s vital that before starting to design a presentation, you should think it through, sketch it out, and brainstorm the ideas. Avoiding bullet points is also a critical component. And…practice, practice, practice. Mr. Jobs, Gallo says, would rehearse and practice for hours before any major speech.

 

Insights based on Steve Jobs’ presentations

Here are a few other ideas that I’ve seen over the years- not just with Steve Jobs- but with any great presenter.

Clean Simple Sentences.

You are the speaker, the center of attention. Not your words. The words are there to reinforce your messages…not as a script.

Look Common.

Steve Jobs was legendary for his common appearance…and his common speak. He dressed in a simple black turtleneck sweater, and wore every-day bluejeans. I’m not saying that professional attire is no longer in-vogue. I’m encouraging you to connect with your audience and reflect your inner persona or corporate brand.

Show it. (Rather than say it)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Stock art, video, and custom illustrations are easier than ever to find…and terrific tools to support a speech. Or call on a presentation professional. We make our money designing great graphics that support potent points.

Dream and Believe.

Your concepts and messages exist in the ethos of your mind. Presentation tools make it easier than ever to transform vision into reality. Steve Jobs knew the power of presentations…and great communications. He dared to dream and forge a fantastic future. We all have this within us. His technology and presentation skills are a gift that will live on…and allow millions of others- including you and me- to dream and believe…and reach the stars.

Watch this as a YouTube video presentation

Kevin Lerner is a presentation consultant and expert on presentation design and delivery. His firm, The Presentation Team, has helped hundreds of companies and individuals to create world-class presentations.

Presenting in a Bad Economy


How a new approach to presentations could spur economic growth

The economy is hurting. And all around the world, companies are cutting corners to cut costs. And cutbacks on the design of professional presentations are indirectly affecting the bottom line, as companies tackle the writing, design, and delivery of these vital communications tools in-house. But during these trying times companies should be increasing – not decreasing – their investments in professional presentations. If companies around the world recognized the importance and ROI of a professional presentation, we could have a well-needed shot in the arm to the global economy.

Presentation Design for the everyman

For many years, presentation design was the domain of an elite group of audio-visual marketing designers. But with the release of PowerPoint 2007, everyone was able to create sophisticated graphics with ease. SmartArt, multiple masters, and a host of other features made it simple and fast for anyone to create great-looking slides. Secretaries were now tasked with the design of the average office PowerPoint presentation. And many mid-level managers are forced to handle the development of the presentation themselves. And because PowerPoint is woven into the psyche of every educated person since the earliest days of school, most executives are comfortable with the application these days to help communicate their key concepts. But knowing how to use PowerPoint, and knowing the art and science of presentation visuals are not the same. Just as easily as PowerPoint has helped people to make good slides, it’s just as easy to make bad-looking slides too, explains Geetesh Bajaj of the website Indezine.com. “It’s easy to create great slides in PowerPoint; it is easier to create bad slides, especially if you do not have some design training.”

Many corporate PowerPoint presentations are designed by someone with a general knowledge of PowerPoint, and with minimal experience of presentation design or delivery. Consequently, these presentations often have diluted messages, or a home-made appearance, that detract from the professionalism of the company brand or image.

Corporations must recognize the importance of The Presentation. Firms frequently spend millions of dollars on marketing and branding, but handle their presentations in-house. Consequently, the visuals don’t reflect the true professionalism of a company, and weaken the marketing and sales efforts for front-line sales reps, who all-too-often are called on to create their own presentations.

By investing in presentation training for their in-house team, or hiring outside presentation designers for key projects, companies can achieve a world-class presentation design with a focused message…while keeping the economy moving.

Bare Bones: Cutting back on professional presentations

In the past few years, presentations have taken a more relaxed and informal style. As dress codes have relaxed in workplaces, so has the formality of the presentation. There’s less emphasis on glitz and glamour, and a greater focus on just the message. It’s easier than ever to find free and basic PowerPoint templates online. But these economical templates often lack the graphical sophistication and subtle nuances that more professional packages offer. Gary White, president of PresentationPro, an Atlanta-based company specializing in presentation designs and templates says his sales are down, as consumers seek cheaper ways to present their information. Ultimately, he says, “this is diluting the professionalism of the presentation and hurting the U.S. economy.”

In many corporate meeting rooms, there’s been a shift from elite and chic to average and acceptable. Presentation design and artistry is not as important anymore. People don’t seem to care as much if a white screen with 10 bullet points are on screen.

Presentations are often viewed as discussion documents, rather than a visual tool to tell a story. Most people want something grand and glorious, but ultimately, they feel more comfortable cramming gobs of bullets, text, and graphics onto a page.

If companies want a true ROI on their marketing and presentation efforts, they should invest the time and money to contract with a true presentation expert, or create a position in-house for a presentation specialist.

A new approach to presentations will boost the global economy

This economic downturn has translated to a reduction in professional PowerPoint designs and contracting with outside agencies. But during this time of financial challenges, companies should be exubrarent about their presentations. Everyone should be presenting, sharing the glories of their companies and initiatives! The “presentation” should be creative portals to our brains and ideas….as we capitalize on all the modern technology; graphics, video, webcasts, and social medial connections the modern world offers.

A company talking by phone to a prospect about their services is adequate. Integrating a web-based presentation or remote presentation tool could give them a competitive advantage. So many companies are still using the web in a two-dimensional style. Creating surveys for feedback, full screen graphics, animated text, can all set them apart from others…translating to a greater positioning as the industry expert…and driving traffic and sales.

By looking at the big picture of the power of a presentation, a company can gain a competetive advantage and boost in their sales. And if all companies revisited their presentation marketing strategy there would be a solid return on investment, that could jumpstart our economy, putting all players back on the path for greatness.

It’s easy to create great slides in PowerPoint; it is easier to create bad slides, especially if you do not have some design training.

iPad & Terry Brock - Presentation Partners

The iPad: The Perfect Presentation Product


How the iPad is transforming the presentation industry and sales market through great and simple iPad presentations in Keynote

iPads and Apple Keynote are amazing presentation tools.

iPad & Terry Brock - Presentation Partners

Terry Brock is 50. But he’s acting like he’s 15, bouncing around the Apple store, clutching his new iPad. Like a proud father showing off his newborn child, Terry is gleefully showing-off the fantastic features of Apple’s newest “magical and revolutionary” device. With three rapid finger points, Terry’s iPad becomes a presentation tool, opening up a clean and simple training presentation in Keynote.

“The iPad has helped me to make a better cleaner presentation, ” explains Brock, a business consultant and professional speaker. He says in the first two week he owned his iPad, his sales marketedly increased.

This compact iPad has transformed the way the world presents…overnight, as business professionals, speakers, and trainers awaken to power of the iPad for presenting complex messages with ease and simplicity. Marketing departments are snatching them up en-masse, adapting their corporate overview presentations and company videos for their sales teams to get a leg-up over the competition.

Linda Schaub of Interim HealthCare in Fort Lauderdale, Florida says the healthcare firm invested “thousands of dollars” to help their sales force communicate the company’s services and win more business with greater agility.

iPad - Close More Sales and Win More Clients

Sales leaders can focus on the client and not be distracted by the computer. The iPad is a non-obtrususive and reliable medium to help communicate the objectives our our meeting. Studies show that people remember 20% of what they hear, and 30% of what they see, but 50% of what they hear and see. A well-designed presentation with colorfully rich graphics, vibrant video, and high quality audio, will undoubtedly be noticed by audiences, helping the presenter to make a mark.

Apple’s Keynote software already has a perceived edge over PowerPoint for effects, power, and elegant simplicity. The iPad allows these Keynote and PowerPoint presentations to be shown easily and simply…delivering the outside world – your presentation – to your viewer in a face-to-face and interactive approach. A well-designed presentation with text, graphics, video, audio, and interactivity – delivered by a qualified professional on a new iPad – is sure to win new clients and close more sales. PowerPoint users need not despair: the world’s most common presentation tool has a place in the iPad heart. Presentations developed in PowerPoint can easily be shown or converted on the iPad.

KeynoteSimply delivering your message from an iPad sends a message of technological savvy and sophistication, affluence, and hipness. The iPad is not about creating content…but consuming it. All too often, people get caught up in the creation and editing of a presentation on a laptop or desktop computer. The iPad will leave that presentation development back at the office, allowing us to focus on the audience and the message more than ever.

Companies like PresentationPro are on the forefront of cutting edge designs and products, including their popular PowerPresenter Suite, a set of 7 tools designed to supercharge PowerPoint and help iPad presenters.

Whether it’s a casual conversation about a strategic opportunity over lunch, supplemented by visuals, or a full Keynote presentation with video testimonials, case studies, animated charts/statistics, and dynamic text points, the iPad is sure to advance our ability to share, show, and connect.  Presentation has never been so much fun!

Kevin Lerner is a presentation consultant, Trainer and PowerPoint/Keynote Design specialist for The Presentation Team based in Washington, DC.

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  • “We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer.”

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG

  • “Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile.”

    Maria Cardoso
    Motorola

  • “Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service.”

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    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications

  • “Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level.”

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    Project Coordinator, Nissin International

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I’ve already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin’s services.”

    Era Prakash
    General Electric

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting.”

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget”

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.

  • “I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!”

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising

  • “As a Fortune 1000 company, we sought to produce a classy, yet conservative presentation for our shareholders. It was evident that you and your team listened to our thoughts as you developed the presentation…”

    Will Flower
    Republic Services

  • “Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition.”

    Mike Geary
    James Pirtle Construction

  • “Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team. He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won.

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Planning a Perfect PowerPoint – 7 Point Checklist

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